On July 25, 2007, the Los Angeles Times published a front-page article with the blaring headline, "Bush ties Al Qaeda in Iraq to Sept. 11." The article centered on this important speech last week (July 24) by President Bush.
One alert reader noticed a big problem with the piece: The President did not do what the headline said he did. Here's a letter to the editor from the July 29 Times:
Nowhere in your article headlined "Bush ties Al Qaeda in Iraq to Sept. 11" (July 25) does the president do any such thing. Nor has he done so anywhere else. Instead, he has made an argument that, at present, Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda has some operational control over Al Qaeda in Iraq. Experts can argue about whether or not this is an exaggeration, but the president's claim hardly deserves a front-page headline.
Good job, Mr. Groutt.
But the article also had other problems. Times staffers Josh Meyer, James Gerstenzang and Greg Miller wrote that "Bush's comments were met with skepticism by some terrorism experts and former U.S. intelligence officials, who said the president exaggerated or even misrepresented the facts in Iraq." Among those they cited was a guy by the name of Rand Beers. The article merely identified Beers as "a former senior Bush and Clinton administration counter-terrorism official." What the Times conveniently failed to mention is that in 2003 Beers "volunteered as national security adviser for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Democratic candidate for president, in a campaign to oust his former boss" (WaPo, July 16, 2003). Gee, is it any surprise that Beers didn't like Bush's speech?